Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Robots, Railguns and Rube Goldberg

I'm starting a weekly video feature over at the teaching blog (part of a bigger educational media project, but more on that later). For now I'm collecting fun little STEM videos that teachers can start off the week with or use as filler or as writing prompts.

The purpose is generally more inspirational than instructional. Unless it fits in with the day's lesson plan, it is difficult to get across a complex scientific concept in a five minute YouTube clip. You can, however, get across quite a bit of cool, particularly with a young audience.

I'm looking for short videos with big visual impact (visual enough that most can be played with or without sound). They should appeal to a broad age range (ideally K through 12) though probably for different reasons -- we'd like a high school physics student to watch at the first video and think about majoring in engineering; we'd like first graders to watch at the video and think "wow, a robot cheetah!" (because the second reaction has a way of leading to the first).

Right now, the candidates are mostly from engineering but I'd like to broaden that later. I've been mainly looking at MIT and IEEE. There is also a TED, which somewhat violates my principles but when you see it, you'll understand. I'm also looking for off-beat Rube Goldberg devices and pre-industrial tech. I'm not crazy about the two historic examples here. I love the tech but the videos leave something to be desired.

Does anyone have any suggestions for filling out this list?

Robotic Cheetah

Magnetic Hair

Squishy Robots

Three Strokes of Upward Lightning

Small cubes that self-assemble

Soft autonomous earthworm robot at MIT

A Swarm of One Thousand Robots

Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter - AHS Sikorsky Prize Flight

Levitating Superconductor on a Möbius strip

Soft Robot Uses Explosions to Jump

1,000,000,000,000 Frames/Second Photography - Ramesh Raskar


Hero's steam engine

World record trebuchet at Warwick Castle

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